All the Speedy Trial Tribunals failed to complete trials in sensitive cases in 135 working days as mandated by the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act 2002.

The law was enacted on December 1, 2002 to ensure speedy trials of sensitive cases involving gruesome crimes.

There are nine Speedy Trial Tribunals, four in Dhaka and one in each of Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barishal and Sylhet.

According to the Supreme Court, until June 30, at least 3,159 sensitive cases were pending disposal by the nine Speedy Trial Tribunals.

And 279 sensitive cases are pending for over five years, according the SC records.

The home ministry’s monitoring cell identifies ‘sensitive cases’ and the law ministry sends them to the Speedy Tribunals for trial.

The tribunal officials and public prosecutors told New Age said that the 135-day time frame for disposal of serious cases was not followed since the High Court Division said in a verdict that the time frame was not ‘mandatory’.

Speedy Trial Tribunal officials said that now metropolitan sessions judges assign long pending cases, with no time-frame for disposal, to the Speedy Trial Tribunals.

None of Speedy Trial Tribunal judges submitted written explanations to the High Court Division why he or she had failed to complete the trials within the mandatory time frame.

The law requires the judges of speedy trial tribunals to submit their written explanations within 30 days of their failure to complete the trials in sensitive cases.

None of the public prosecutors also submitted their written explanations to the law ministry within 30 days why the trials were not completed within the mandated timeframe.

None of the case investigation officers submitted their written explanations to the home ministry either.

‘No action, prescribed by the law, was taken for the serious non-compliance,’ law minister Anisul Huq told New Age on Tuesday.

Special public prosecutor Abdullah Bhuiyan   told New Age that the High Court Division in two verdicts said that the timeframe was not mandatory after rejecting the petition of an accused challenging the legality of Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 continuing the trial in the cases relating to grenade attacks on Awami League rally on August 21, 2004 much after the mandated 135-day time frame was over.

Former Shyampur ward commissioner Shahadat Hossain murder case is pending with the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 for 15 years.

Former Sutrapur ward commissioner Saidur Rahman Shahid is one of the 12 accused in the Shahadat murder case.

Shahid was granted bail by the High Court Division on July 3, 2008.

On September 29, 2002, Shahadat was murdered near the Holy Child School and College at Uttara in the capital.

The murder case of cloth merchant Chand Mia of Islampur in Old Dhaka, is pending with the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 for eight years since August 4, 2011.

On May 13, 2009, Chand Mia was shot dead near the Old Post Office Lane, Sutrapur when he was on his way home from his cloth store at Islampur.

Only prosecution two witnesses, the victim’s wife Babli Chand and neighbour Kamrul Hasan Bachchu testified in the Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 against five accused in 2012, and all the five accused are now free on bail.           

None of the other 25 prosecution witnesses testified in last seven years.

Bably Chand’s testimony was recorded on July 10, 2012 and Kamrul Hassan Bachchu’s on December 5, 2012.

The Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 1  rescheduled hearing time and again since December 2012 citing the ground that the other  witnesses did not turn up and that the state prayed for time to produce the witnesses.

On September 12, 2019, the tribunal rescheduled recording depositions by the prosecution witnesses until December 1, 2019. 

The case of abduction and murder of eight-year-old Mahafuz of Kashiani, Gopalganj is pending with Dhaka Speedy Tribunal 4 for six years since December 22, 2013.

On July 5, 2012, Mahafuz was abducted from his home, the abductors demanded Tk 70 lakh as ransom and on August 20, 2012 his body was found.

The trial of 19 accused in the sensational Mahafuz murder case is yet to begin, said tribunal officials.

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